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What is The Pituitary Gland in the Human Body

Hormones are chemical mediators that control and regulate the entire mechanism of the body throughout an individual's lifespan. These hormones are secreted by specific ductless glands spread across various organs. The Pituitary controls the secretions and functioning of other endocrine glands, for example adrenal glands, and is regarded as the master gland. It is a small endocrine gland found at the base of brain, in the skull cavity lying below their controlling organ, called hypothalamus.

Pituitary Gland

The pituitary gland is divided into three lobes, the anterior, intermediate and the posterior one, each with different functions based on the hormones they synthesise.

Fun Facts about Pituitary Gland

  • Measuring about the size of a pea, this hormone secreting organ is 5 grams in weight, pink in colour and located in the folds of brain.
  • Growth hormone is secreted by the gland, the excessive secretion of which leads to increased height and decreased secretion results in dwarfism.
  • Pituitary gland is called the king of all glands as it controls them all and is in-turn controlled by the Hypothalamus, a part of brain that builds connection between endocrine and nervous systems through hypophysis (an alternative term to denote hypothalamus).
  • Pituitary gland functions very best for about 50 years; that is the very reason why humans remain hale and healthy with fast healing and recovery phases in the first 50 years of their lifespan.
  • The secretions of the posterior lobe of the pituitary are responsible for child birth and sexual life of an individual.
  • The gland hangs from a part of the brain called the hypothalamus and it is connected with the same through a small stalk called the infundibulum.
  • The hypophysis generates and releases nine hormones, in total, into the blood stream which mainly serve to maintain homeostasis in the body.

Disorders of the Pituitary Gland

Various body hormones are responsible for a number of vital processes in the body, like maintenance of homeostasis, growth, reproduction and so on. Major diseases of the pituitary gland are characterized by either hyersecretion (overproduction) or hyposecretion (underproduction) of hormones which result from a number of underlying factors including tumour development and impaired blood supply to the gland. Some of the major disorders of pituitary gland are listed here along with their relation to specific hormones.

Tumours of Pituitary Gland

The tumours may be either cancerous or non-cancerous giving rise to the deficiency of any or all of the Pituitary Hormones.

Acromegaly

Hyper-secretion of GH (Growth Hormone)

GHD

Hypo-secretion of the Growth Hormone

Diabetes Insipidus

Hypo-secretion of Vasopressin

Cushing’s Disease

Hyper-secretion of Adrenocorticotropic Hormone

Anti-Diuretic Hormone Syndrome

Hyper-secretion of Vasopressin

Sheehan Syndrome

Hypo-secretion of any Pituitary Hormone

Hyperpituitarism

Hyper-secretion of any Pituitary Hormone

Pickardt-Fahlbusch Syndrome

Hyper-secretion of Prolactin and hypo-secretion of any other pituitary hormone.

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